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Nobody Gets Left Behind
(c)Dennis Johnson

Before heading back into the bush
We always swore to each other
"Nobody gets left behind".

Dear Brothers,

We all volunteered for the team... boys turning into men.
We learned fast... and became brothers.
And got so close it seemed that...
If one of us was cut...
We all bled.

Then;  missions where we knew we had no support...
We couldn't count on anyone but the team... but that had always been enough.

Six of us going in with bad intel... being hit so hard 4 brothers died.
And the 2 left barely made it back...
Sometimes not sure who was carrying whom.

So the promise was broken: men were left behind.

Tommy and I wished we had died that day.
We never got over it.  We never got past it.

And in our pain and shame we left you... and each other.

I put it all away... buried so deep it couldn't hurt me anymore.
Yeah, right.

But I made it.

Tommy hid in a bottle, then it was drugs and the streets.
But he made it, too.

Yet we still have days...
And horrible nights...
When we wish we had died with you that day.

We've again sworn the promise...retaken the oath...
Nobody Gets Left Behind.

I work for Operation Just Cause.
May God Bless each man, woman, and child who gets involved.
It is what gives me hope and strength...
And some small chance for redemption.

We will bring you all home.

Tommy is in pretty bad shape but his good days are a little better...
And maybe his bad days not quite so bad.

He really likes to hear about what is being done.
He wants to help but isn't ready for that yet.

I thank God for Tommy...

And the honor of knowing each of you.

You will never be forgotten.

There are still 6 of us on the team.

We pray for you and each other.

Please... forgive us.

Our promise to you, our brothers:

"I swear by my life and my blood...

Nobody gets left behind.

This was written through pain and tears for the team.
The finest men I have ever known.
Tommy and I found each other after nearly 30 years.
He is slowly finding his way back.

17 August 1999
Tommy didn't make it. He is dead. We finally had a meet set up at the Wall.

He didn't show.

I found out from a friend that his girlfriend had left him, he'd lost his job, his sister (probably the only family he ever thought of as family) had recently died, and he was back using drugs and drinking again.

I don't know in what order that all occurred and don't much care.

It looks like Tommy has gone on to join the rest of the team.
Right now, it feels like I'm the one who got left behind.

Say a prayer for Tommy.  He deserved better than he got.


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